Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What do you do when you're disappointed?

What disappoints you?
The weather? The ending of a movie or book? Your finish in a race? A meal at a restaurant? Politicians; or just people's behavior in general?
How do you react when you're disappointed? If you're like most people you run through a whole mix of emotions. You may feel sadness, regret, anger or bitterness, or even a bit of guilt. The first reactions are to be expected, but why do we sometimes feel guilty? We may wonder if the person or situation that has disappointed us could have been avoided. Was it because of something we did or perhaps didn't do? Is the situation or outcome potentially any fault of ours? We'd be na├»ve to think that we're completely blameless in some situations. Choosing to eat that heavy dessert after dinner may not have been the wisest decision, so we need to accept some of the blame when we don't feel well later. But people are different, they definitely aren't a dessert that we chose to over-indulge in.
People are complex, and YES, people can make choices. If you feel disappointed by the behavior of someone step back and take an objective look before you start blaming yourself. It's fine to accept some of the blame at times, but I don't think we should automatically think their behavior had anything to do with us. Everyone has the ability to make a choice, but in doing so we should also accept responsibility for any outcomes related. If someone behaves poorly or out of character, maybe there's something else going on. Before we automatically think, 'Oh, I'm sorry. Did I do something to provoke their behavior?' perhaps we should take a deep breath and ask ourselves, 'I wonder what THAT was all about?'
It's normal to be disappointed; in others' behavior as well as our own. Maybe it would be more constructive and beneficial to find out the 'WHY something happened' rather than the 'WHAT happened'. We cannot change the choices people make, only our own. We may never uncover, or even understand the 'why'. We need to cut ourselves some slack. I know, easier said than done. It's hard not to want things to go smoothly or even nicely. It's disappointing when we witness people behaving in selfish or vicious ways. People will always do and say things they regret, but actions AND words have the ability to be hurtful and cannot be taken back. Someone can acknowledge what they've said or done or sometimes what they haven't (but should have). That moment can be crucial and life changing, but it's their moment to take ownership of - not ours.
Be supportive, be a good listener, but never allow yourself to be a doormat.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Don't Lose Sight Of Yourself

It's the time of year where when you run into someone you haven't seen in a while they ask you, 'How's your summer been?' Lately when asked that question my husband and I have been responding with, 'We're hoping next summer has a little less drama and chaos.' Our last two summers have been filled with a lot of good, but also a lot of 'life'. Primarily we've been dealing with the needs of our mothers; their medical care, their residences, etc. Needless to say, we've had a lot on our plates for two summers in a row.
When 'life' happens and hits you smack dab between the eyes you do what you do best ... you deal with it. You put a lot of yourself on hold and you take charge. You put in long hours, you handle the new responsibilities, you try to cheer them up when they need it, and you grab some sleep when you can.
It's easy to lose track of your own life when things like this happen. You tell yourself that YOU can wait; your laundry can wait, taking care of your yard can wait, grocery shopping can wait, and vacations can wait. But is that a good idea? Probably not. There's a lot to get done; a lot with deadlines. You get done what you can and add the rest to tomorrow's To Do list.
A few months ago my mother broke her hip, had surgery, and went into physical rehab. Unfortunately she did not get the outcome she had hoped for and made a move into nursing care. At the same time that all of this occurred I was approached to participate in a special project. I was barely keeping my eyes open during the day due to the lack of sleep and added stress, but the more I thought about it the more I still wanted to participate in this project. The timing may not have been the best, but timing has never been perfect or predictable.
This year marks my 10-year anniversary of being cancer-free. In the midst of everything else going on in my life right now I didn't want to miss out on this chance to celebrate. I didn't want to lose sight of the goodness. So I jumped in with both feet, literally.
I am participating in a 'Dancing With The Survivors' fundraiser on October 8, 2016 for The Pink Fund; a local non-profit organization that assists breast cancer patients currently going through treatment with non-medical expenses. Fighting cancer takes a toll on people physically, mentally, and financially. I'm stepping out of my comfort zone (and learning ballroom choreography no less) to raise funds for this event, help people I can personally relate to, and celebrate life!
Whatever curve balls life throws at you remember to keep your eyes open and duck if necessary. There is a lot we cannot control on a daily basis, but there are some things that we can. We can keep a positive attitude, we can focus on the good, and we can try our best to make a difference.
If you'd like to support the 'Dancing With The Survivors' event please click on the link below.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It's All About The Curve

When I was a young girl one of my best memories was going to the Detroit Tigers baseball games with my mom, my dad, and my sister. My dad generally travelled most of the week for his job, but if it was summer time you could bet that if the Tigers were playing at home we would pick my dad up from the airport and go straight to Trumbull Ave. to catch a night game. My dad insisted (no matter how young we were) that if we were going to go to a game, we were going to UNDERSTAND the game. He would buy a program and teach us how to fill in the stats; the number of pitches, the strikes, the fouls, the outs, the batting order, etc. He would teach us to watch for pitches; the slider, the fast ball, and the curve ball. The curve ball was interesting - the way the ball would seem to switch directions and turn back in.
A curve in baseball can change the game. A curve on an icy or wet road can be treacherous. We don't always see a curve coming, then we have a mere instant to react.
Life is sometimes no different. Every day 'life' has a learning curve attached.
  • Young children don't come with an instruction manual; we try our best with what we know but some days they will get IT right and other days they won't. There may be some tears involved and perhaps a few Band-Aids.
  • Teenagers present a whole new set of challenges. They suddenly become the age where they're convinced that you know absolutely nothing, you could never understand what they are dealing with, and they often feel like they are invincible and untouchable.
  • Life continues and we suddenly find ourselves trying to care for our parents. They may or may not have had a plan, but now it is up to us to work through their past, their present, and their future. Sometimes in a short amount of time.
Yes, life definitely has a learning curve. Some days we will find ourselves exhausted, a bit frazzled, majorly overwhelmed, and often talking to ourselves.
The moral of this little story ... don't give up, don't give in, keep on trying a new way to smooth out the bumps, and always continue to search for the calmness that will eventually come. Will we have all the answers? Probably not. Will we make mistakes and poor choices along the way? Undoubtedly. Will we survive to see a new day? That's my hope for you, as well as me!